Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year New Bunny

 So New Years is all about having a great party and welcoming the new year with hopes it will be better than the last.  Well I know 2012 is going to be a great year for me because I got a new bunny!  Her name is Opal, and she is a blue Flemish Giant.  While this isn't the largest breed of rabbit, she is a very big girl, and should grow up to be well over 20 lbs.  In today's post we will talk about some science but I'm also a history fan so I'm going to change things up and talk about how giant breeds (in this case rabbits) came to America.

Opal at 8 weeks old

In the 1800's rabbits were raised and used for meat very commonly throughout Europe.  This was mainly due to the fact that large livestock was expensive to feed, house and had slow breeding rates.  Rabbits have limited need for space and very fast reproductive rates. Being an island, England consumed large amouts of rabbits, and soon turned to importing them to keep up with demand.  Commonly bred rabbits were mid sized around 7 to 8 lbs.  Travelers returned to England with wild tales of rabbits three times the size in Flanders.  Thus around 1860 Flemish Giants were imported to England, then imported to the Americas in 1890 during a similar "rabbit boom".  So now that we know how Flemish Giants got here lets get down to some science!

Opal at 10 weeks old

Probably the most distinguishable features of rabbits are their giant ears.  Most people know their ears act like giant dishes to catch sound waves.  But their ears are also one of their main temperature control (i.e. thermoregulation) devices.  When looking at the rabbits ears you will see many blood vessels.  If a rabbit is cold the simply need to go out into the sun or fold their ears close to their furry bodies, the ears blood vessels go through vasoconstriction or become smaller to retain heat.  If a rabbit is hot they can go into the shade and fan out their ears, where their blood vessels go through vasodilation.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year,
Cass (and Opal as the Jackalope)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pony Time!

So with Christmas less than a week away, I know many little girls are hoping Santa (and their parents) will heed their desperate pleas for a pony under the tree.  Well I was one of the lucky little girls who actually got their dream pony...  My first pony was Phoenix (all pictures of her are in print and I don't have a scanner) and she was that ultimate little girl fantasy, a snowy white Arabian with a perfect dished face.  Could have been a unicorn (and got dressed as one several times) if you put a horn on her sculpted face.  I kept her till she passed away when I was 21.  My second pony is Max (pictured left), another grey Arabian who originally was for my mom but ended up as my jumping pony, clearing obstacles with me that towered higher than his head.  He is still going strong at 25 giving walk-trot lessons for little kids.  Today I have two horses who decorate the side of my blog, Manhattan and Finally.  Manhattan (Manny) is a 17.1 hand Thoroughbred (pictured below) who can jump a house.  Finally is the golden child (pictured at end of blog).  He is a Quarter horse who I have had since he was 2 and has the biggest heart. 

Now that I've shared about my ponies lets get to some science!  Horses are highly evolved animals with some unique attributes.  In my opinion, their feet have the most highly specialized design.  A horse's hoof is actually is the anatomical equivalent of our fingernail.  If you pick up a horse's hoof and look at the underside they have a triangle middle, this is the horse's frog.  It is a spongy shock absorber.  As a horse gallops the hard outside hoof wall strikes first then the frog extends down and outward to absorb much of the shock.  Now I look at the frog and think wow that would be something Nike would love to use in their newest running shoe, or how about inspiration for shocks on off road vehicles?

The frog is also an amazing pump for the horse's circulatory system.   As the horse puts weight onto the hoof, the hoof wall is pushed outwards and the frog compressed, driving blood out of the frog. When weight is removed from the hoof, the release of pressure pulls blood back down into the foot again. This creates a blood pumping system up and down the horses legs.  Horses rarely lay down, you mostly see young horses or older horses taking extended naps.  Horse are unable to spend a long time laying down because their massive body weight will actually crush their internal organs.  So horses spend most of their time standing up.  They have a special locking feature in their knees to help them sleep standing up.  So having great leg circulation becomes even more important. 

I could go on and on about horses but for today that is all you get!  Hope everyone has a happy holiday season with their loved ones. 
P.S. including a horse treat recipe just in case you're like me and want to give your equine friends a holiday treat, just add raisins to make it human friendly.

Oat Molasses Cookies

2 Cups Dry Oatmeal
1/2 Cup grated Carrots
3 Tablespoons Molasses
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
Combine all ingredients. Add enough water to make a soft dough. Stir
well. Form cookies. Bake 350 for 8 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reindeer Games

Well it is the beginning of December so time for a holiday post.  Today's featured animal will be the Reindeer also known as the Caribou.  I thought it would be fun to outline some points that would make Reindeer a great animal to pull Santa's sleigh.  They live in both Tundra and Borreal Forrest areas, both of which are very cold.  Reindeer fur has an undercoat and topcoat to help combat the extreme cold.  The undercoat is dense and wooley, while the top coat is longer with hollow air-filled hairs. 
Only the most impressive animal will do for Santa, and a reindeer's antlers certainly look fancy.  Both the males and females grow antlers but the males grow them noticeably larger.  The age of the deer determines when their antlers fall off.  The older males loose them in December the younger males loose them in spring.  Reindeer antlers are the largest compared to their body size.

Something you may not realize about Reindeer is they have a very special nose.  No, it doesn't glow red like Rudolf's.  They have nasal turbine bones that increase the surface area dramatically. This allows incoming air to be warmed by the deer's body heat before being transported to the lungs.  The moisture is also captured from the wet cold air before the warmed air is expired.  The moisture can be used to moisten dry air or even be reabsorbed back into the body via capillaries.

Why were Reindeer chosen to pull Santa's sleigh?  Well, I think it is because they are the only mammal to see ultraviolet light!  They can see wavelengths at around 320 nm much better than humans who tap out at 400 nm.  This is likely because Reindeer live in the Arctic where the world is often covered in snow and relatively monotoned.  Seeing ultraviolet helps certain objects stand out. 

Now that you see the many features of Reindeer you can see why Santa loves them. 
Happy Holidays to everyone,

Friday, December 2, 2011

One of my Favorite Animals

I've drifted off the biomimicry topic the last few posts and it is time to get back to it!  Today I want to talk about one of my favorite animals, the okapi...  Side note: (for those of you remembering my love of frogs and horses, the specific order of my favorite animals goes 1. Frogs 2. Okapi 3. Horses.)  Okapi's have a very striking coat and body.  They have a reddish brown body, zebra striped legs, and a giraffe shaped head.  The Okapi isn't related to zebras, deer, or horses.  Their closest relative is the giraffe.  If you look at their head you can see a distinct relation in the shape and they have a long dark blue tongue just like giraffe's. 

The Okapi's unusual coloring is actually  ideal for its' environment.  Okapi's live in dense rainforest, where there is little sunlight except for the traces that weave through the dense upper canopy.  This creates stripes of light across the jungle floor that blend in nicely with their legs.  Their body is a dark reddish brown that blends in with the rest of the forest and doesn't attract much attention.  Other striped jungle animals like the Tiger utilize the same strategy of wearing stripes to mimic lighting in the dense jungle.

One of the most unique features of the Okapi is their large ears.  Okapis make lots of noise but our human ears cant detect them.  They are at a ultra low frequency, while predators hear at higher frequency.  By having low vocals they can communicate with one another without predators listening in.  This has evolved mostly for mother Okapi's and their babies.  At the beginning of the day the mother Okapi will hide the new baby while she goes off to find food and water.  She doesn't go out of earshot so if baby Okapi needs her she can come back.

Now what are some possible uses for humans if we had Okapi ears?  Well due to their ability to hear low frequencies, Okapi's can hear earthquakes.  If humans could make a small ear sized device, everyone could have their very own earthquake detection device!

Try to keep in mind that every animal and creature has evolved their specific features for a purpose.  If an animal looks strange their must be a reason!  Happy reading,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Narrow Vision Doesn't Help Anybody

Yesterday I found a very interesting article discussing that mice have turned into a poor model system for experimentation full article here.  They don't disregard that mice have led to some amazing advancements in science, but at the end of the day mice aren't genetically identical to humans.  Throughout the years, mice have become the predominant lab animal, they make up 59% of lab animal volume.  That is more than all other animals used, rat, fish, birds, primates, and so on combined.  Mice have become the predominant animals for experimentation for several reasons, they're easy to breed, they're small enough that fed and space isn't a big issue, they're also relatively easy to handle.  Scientists have diagnosed the mouse genome to death.  They can knock out, add, alter almost any gene to express whatever behavior they want.  But back to my original point, mice aren't humans...  Over time scientists have yet to cure many diseases in humans yet their treatments have a very high success rate on mice?  Why is this?  One scientist believes it is because mice are kept in a very sedentary lifestyle, they sit in their cage for days on end.  When mice were exercised vigorously and put on a restricted diet many treatments that previously were successful failed. 

My biggest issue with using mice as the mass model organism is it limits creativity.  No longer are people thinking out of the box.  Unfortunately this leads to another problem I really don't have a solution.  Using primates as the new mass model organism would seem like an option.   Their genetic make-up that is closer to humans, but having large amounts of primates really it isn't feasible due to the much higher maintenance costs and it takes a lot longer to breed enough.  The general public also has a much bigger moral issue with using primates and other non-rodent or fish animals. 

Personally I'm not against animal experimentation for scientific means.  I don't condone animal experimentation for cosmetics or trivial reasons (yes that is a blurry line).  I see animal experimentation as a necessary evil.  Proper avenues should be carried out with experimentation starting on simple organisms like cells and bacteria and slowly worked up until the human phase.  My first job out of college was working for a clinical trials group.  It was highly monitored and every effect of the drug both good and bad was closely monitored and recorded.  Patient safety was always the number one priority.  Our group helped many people and had great success.  Now back to the original problem.  Mice have severed their purpose as the model organism the advancements have slowed and people have gotten far too comfortable with mice.  But, what do we do now?  The truth is I don't know, but I am sure we need to open our eyes and start thinking outside the box again.  As always I would love your feedback and thoughts of all types.
That's it for now,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dissapearing Act... The Rhino

Saw a sad article today: that Africa's Western Black Rhino has been declared extinct.  It hurts for two reasons, the first being I have always loved rhino's, they are such an amazing unique creature.  The second being that this was another reminder that animals species are going extinct everyday.  Many of the larger species get noticed when they are on the decline simply due to their size, but species of all sizes are going extinct daily.  I'm not writing this to depress you but more as a call to action.  I'm including another link to a list of some species we have lost in the past 40 years and ways to prevent more species from disappearing forever:

Now, for your weekly dose of animal facts.  Rhino's have a human cause for their decline, they are hunted for their horns.  Some cultures believe their horns have medicinal and aphrodisiac properties.  To cut down on poaching in many areas rhinos have had their horns removed.  A rhino's horn consists of keratin only and do not have a bony core like cows horns.  Keratin makes up the outer layer of our skin, our hair, and nails.  The only other biological matter known to come close to the toughness of keratinized tissue is chitin which is found in tree trunks.  Understanding keratin structure could make a great biological marker because keratin expression is helpful in determining epithelial origin (where the cancer started) in anaplastic cancers.  Tumors that express keratin include carcinomas, thymomas, sarcomas, and trophoblastic neoplasms.  Who knew rhino horn could be a clue to diagnosing and finding cancer? 

That's all for now,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Aquatic Episode....

Two weeks ago I asked people what animal they would like me to write about and while the response varied, there was a significant majority of fish lovers!  Something that defines every type of fish is their shape.  Each fish has adapted it's body over time to cater it specifically for it's environment.  Some would assume, that since all fish live in the water they all simply modify their body for streamlined swimming, not the case.  The ocean is just as varied as the surface in its different biomes.  Coral reefs are full of tight places, open ocean is miles and miles of vast open water, kelp beds are the forests of the sea.  These different environments have given variation to fish body shape.

Our first fish will be the box fish.  This brightly colored but admittedly awkwardly shaped fish lives in coral reefs.  Coral reefs are the one of the densest environments in the ocean.  This fish's body is ideal for tight swift turns to maneuver at optimal efficiency, and emits very little drag.  Mercedes Benz even modeled a car after the box fish shape, this concept car was exceptionally streamlined with a 65% lower drag coefficient than its' compact car competitors.

Next ocean fish with an extreme body shape is the tuna.  All tuna have an especially streamlined body shape, with a pointed head and a tapered tail. The large caudal fin is lunate (crescent shaped). Following each fin is a series of finlets, the number varying with the species. In all species, the scales are extremely small or lacking.  Everything about the tuna has been designed to cut down drag.  The torpedo shape cuts through the water, scales create drag so minimizing them or getting rid of them is ideal, and having a number of small finlets gives the tuna optimal control without needing large bulky fins.  The tuna has many more adaptations and may end op getting its own separate blog soon.

Next fish with the opposite body shape is the puffer fish.  Now this is a fish built for flexibility not for speed.  They tend to stay on the ocean floor because they are not fast swimmers.  Everyone knows their defense of puffing up many times their original body size by filling their stomach with water, but their deflated state is also very special.  They are very manoeuvrable and able to hover, swim backwards, and change direction much more quickly than most other types of fish.

The last requested aquatic creature is the Trigger fish, they live in tropic and subtropic oceans.  Trigger fish have an oval shaped, highly compressed body. The head is large, terminating in a small but strong- jawed mouth with teeth adapted for crushing shells. Their eyes are small and very high up on their head (to protect from spines).  They only have a single gill opening above the pectoral fins.  This fish actually has teeth due to its' very crunchy diet of slow-moving, bottom dwelling crustaceans and echinoderms, generally creatures with protective shells and spines.  Each jaw contains a row of four teeth on either side, while the upper jaw contains an additional set of six plate-like pharyngeal teeth.  Basically the trigger fish doesn't need speed because its' prey is extremely slow, instead its' body is built for protection and power.

That's it for now, if you have any other animals you want me to write about let me know,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are Humans Good or Bad?

Most of the time I post about animals and science, but some pretty serious topics have been on my mind lately.  I have asked a few of my close friends if they think humans are born good, bad, or neutral?  It has been proven time and time again, a child's upbringing has a huge influence on their future and behavior.  The route of my question goes back to the time honored question of nature vs. nurture.  Can people overcome a bad upbringing to do good things?  Can good people throw away every opportunity to do great evil? 

Personally I believe people have the propensity to do both good and bad.  Good people choose to do bad things at time, and sometimes a bad person does something kind and altruistic.  At heart I'm a optimist, I think people have an ingrained desire to do good.  People often think they are doing the right thing but society has judged it as wrong.  Misunderstandigns are all about perspective.  I try very hard in my personal life to be self accountable, I don't hold myself to any standard but the one set by myself.  In that sense I don't believe it is my place to judge others as right or wrong.  (I would make a terrible judge or lawyer, my journey to be a biologist is looking better and better everyday.)  I'm really shocked at the daily amount of judging others do to each other, it seems everyone spends so much time trying to control one another that they have lost control over themselves.  If we all took it upon ourselves to look within and just do good things because it is the right thing to do, life would dramatically improve.  Today's world is littered with ridiculous lawsuits, cut-throat businesses,  people acting plain mean.  Life is hard, we can't always go around with fake smile plastered on our faces, but it is an active choice to wake-up everyday.  It is also a conscious choice to be a good person who does the right thing just because. 

What are your thoughts on human nature?  What kind of person do you consider yourself?
Animal posts will return soon, don't worry.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Owls: Silent but Deadly

Anyone who has been following my blog knows what an animal fact nut I am, and side note: if you ever go to any zoo or park with me I give an amazing tour.  But, back to owls, everyone knows owls as the silent predator.  They are mostly gliders to be able to fly without excessive flapping.  But the question is why would they want to be quiet hunters?  The general public believes it is so they can sneak up on their prey, but owls are very quick by the time they spot a mouse or rodent it is very likely to become their dinner.  They need to be quiet so they can hear their prey.  Mice and other rodents, live on the forest floor and blend in decently with the foliage.  It isn't easy to spot them, but they make lots of scratching noises while they dig for seeds and nuts.  Owls have another neat attribute that their ears are very lopsided, one is high the other is low.  You will often see owls cock their head at odd angles, this just enhances the juxtaposition of their ears to either hear a scratching mouse down below or listen for enemies up above.  Their silent flying allows them to zero in to scratchy mice down below. 

Owls also have amazing eyes, think of how big their eye to head ratio is.  Their eyes are tubular rather than round allowing more light to enter the eye to give maximum brightness.  This tubular shape makes the owl farsighted, they cannot see close up very well (giving more reason to need that specially adapted hearing).  The tubular shape doesn't allow the eyes to move, so their neck can flex 270 degrees in either direction and 90 degrees vertically to compensate. 

That's it for now, if you have an animal you want me to write about let me know!  Every animal has a story and reason why it looks and acts the way it does.
Lots of love,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Save the Frogs, Save the World

Today, I’d like to introduce the concept of a bio-indicator.  In the past, I have given out a number of examples of biomimicry, but how many of you know are aware of the idea of bio-indicators?  These are organisms that will be initially (and greatly) affected when the environment is stressed.  In the past, coal miners would take canaries into the mine with them, as the birds were very sensitive to leaking methane gas that could result in an explosion.  Today, we are all aware of (and with good reason somewhat worried about) our close connection to the environment.  Of the many animal bio-indicators, my favorite is the frog.

Frogs have a three-part life cycle consisting of an aquatic egg, an aquatic tadpole, and the semi-aquatic adult.  The key word for all of its life stages is “aquatic”, for changes to the environment often first show up in the water.  Altered salinity, nutrients, and the presence of toxic chemicals can affect the frog at any of its life stages.  Their eggs are separated from the water by only a thin membrane, and both tadpoles and adults have a specialized semi-permeable skin that readily lets in environmental contaminants.  The loss of frogs due to environmental change creates multiple problems for their ecosystem.  Leftover frog egg membranes act as a fertilizer for algae, which then acts as a water filter.  Adult frogs are hungry and effective pest control agents, unless you are fond of mosquitoes.  Frog eggs, tadpoles, and adults provide food for an ecosystem’s worth of other animals, particularly birds and snakes.  There are also direct connections between frogs and humans.  This week, the Nobel prizes were awarded, and in the past, ten percent of all the prizes ever given for physiology have been awarded to scientists studying frog skin.  The popular Fire Belly Toad produces bellykinin, a secretion medically useful in reducing high blood pressure.  White’s Tree Frog produces caerin, a secretion that is being investigated for its effectiveness in reducing HIV transmission.  Today worldwide, my favorite bio-indicator the frog, is rapidly disappearing.  The silence, where there was once a chorus of singing and croaking should be ringing in our ears like an alarm clock, that something is not well with the world in which we live.  

Save those frogs,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Super Sloths

People and animals often get judged at first glance.  First impressions often follow us around for a lifetime.  I'm often guilty of the same thing, but I have been trying to make a real effort to take that deep look at a person or animal.  A wise lady once told me, "the greatest complement you can give someone is getting to know them."  This was a few years ago, at the time I kinda laughed those words off as the ramblings of a lonely older lady, but she was right.  
One animal who doesn't get the respect it deserves is the Sloth.  This animal moves extremely slow, is very helpless if ever on the ground, overall not impressive looking.  But, the Sloth is actually extremely well adapted for its lifestyle.  Sloths come in two varieties, two-toed and three-toed.  They spend so much time hanging upside down, with their legs above their bodies, their hairs grow away from the extremities, the opposite of other mammals, in order to provide protection from the elements. In moist conditions, the fur hosts two species of symbiotic cyanobacteria, which serves two benefits for the Sloth. It gives the fur a green tinge which help camouflage the Sloth. The bacteria also provides nutrients to the Sloth, who will lick them off the fur. Their claws are razor sharp and are curved to make ideal attachments on a tree limb, it's like having super strong coat hangers growing out of your arms.  If a predator catches sight of a Sloth, these claws make good deterrents.  Picture a heavy predator trying to walk out on a limb to make a Sloth into a snack, already the predator is very unstable but in addition they also have to dodge a grumpy Sloth with dagger claws, it's typically not worth it to snag the Sloth up in a tree.  A Sloth lives in a single tree most of its life and only comes down once a week to use the restroom.  The Sloth likes to dig a small hole at the base of its tree for its privy, therefore fertilizes his own tree.  A defining feature of the Sloth is also how it got it's name, it is incredibly slow.  This has many reasons, first off, the Sloth fur already blends in nicely with the trees and green bark, you move nice a slow so you literally look "one with the tree".  Second reason for their snail like speed is it uses much less energy.  Great bursts of speed use up lots of energy and calories.  It is very hard to consume mass amounts of nutrients from plants alone, much more work than meat.  So a Sloth is a master conservationist for calories! 
I'm sure the Sloth has even more abilities that people have yet to discover, but the important point is always keeping an open mind when seeing something you don't understand.  Their is reason that creature was created that way.  As humans it is our job to not be judgemental and to take the advice of an 80 yr old lady and get to know them.  I assure you it wont be time wasted.
Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New But Is It Improved?

So I came across this post in the msn news feed today it is all about enhancement of our environment and focuses specifically on human enhancement.  Now humans have tried our best to conform the world and environment to our preference, but in the end, nature keeps on winning.  For example, bacteria and viruses keep getting stronger, each year we have to take a guess at a new flu vaccine.  Despite all our technological advances we cannot even combat a simple flu virus.  This article talks about the various ways humans have altered themselves to be their ideal, but with nanotechnology blooming what could happen next?  When I hear the word nanotechnology I envision microscopic robots being inject into us to purge our bodies of infection an disease...  Initially this seems amazing, but then I think a little deeper.  How do these nanobots know when to stop, what is preventing them from attacking healthy tissue, what else could go wrong?  Right now, I'm holding onto my faith that nature still has made a better solution, we humans just haven't found ways to utilize it. 
On the whole humans are extremely narrow minded, we see the world as something to conform to our own will, instead of looking at ourselves as one part to the whole.  We may be influential, but in no means do we control everything.  Control shouldn't be a main goal.  The objective should be to work in harmony with the world and use our power/influence to help it excel in a manner that will allow humans and many other creatures to live for the longest duration possible.  All organisms on this world have a finite lifespan, even our world and sun will eventually die.  This is simply natural order.  In contrast it is also natural for all organisms to want to live as long as possible in order to propagate as many offspring as possible.  So how do we battle these dueling pre-sets within ourselves?  A big question that truthfully I don't think anyone has a certain answer.  A few things are for certain, humans will continue pushing their bodies and technology to the limit, nature will continue finding ways around it.  Other than that it is all variable.  To be continued...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So You've Had a Bad Day

I had a rotten few days, my house is infested with fleas, and nothing seems to kill them.  I've been feeling low about my appearance and just plain exhausted most days.  This all reminds me of a piece I wrote awhile ago about what to do when you're feeling rotten, hopeless, and defeated.  Keep fighting my friends, good things happen to good people. 

Sometimes there are no positives to a situation, but those are the times one draws upon a reserve store of emotion and energy deep that lies deep inside.  I use the absolutely bleak moments as fuel to make a huge change.  It’s like hitting rock bottom, once you’re there, it is now possible to stand and push off and the perfect time to make huge life changes. 

For multiple reasons, the modern environment has caused individuals to lose sight of the power they have in themselves.  One needs to have faith in themselves first and foremost.  We rely on doctors or drugs to heal us; others have become dependent on antidepressants and try to find answers in a pill instead of doing some soul searching.  People with problems now look to the government to bail themselves out.  Life is hard for everybody.  There is never a simple easy answer, or everyone would do it.  I believe that if you are confident in your own abilities, you can survive any situation and turn it into a positive.  While a positive attitude is infectious and helpful, attitude alone cannot make changes in your life.   It is up to each individual to actively seek out ways to improve their lives in any area.  Actions, drive, and perseverance are the only paths that are guaranteed to bring results. 

Lastly here's a song that has sometimes mad me cry harder, sometimes cheered me up, both were absolutely necessary at the time. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Sleep Diet

So it seems my little intro of Biomimicry sparked a lot of great conversations, and inspired the hell out of me.  Last time I explained what Biomimicry was, but what do I see as the great use for it?  I think it can go far beyond a reason to conserve the planet, it could be used as a way to greatly increase efficiency for any business.  It is also an amazing source of ideas. 

The other day I was talking to my best friend Mallory about polar bears and some of their unique attributes.  Why would humans want to be more polar bear-like?  Polar bears can gain muscle mass and strength simply by sleeping.  Human muscle mass is driven by mechanical factors mainly exercise (lots of exercise).  Humans force muscle mass building by eating protein and can even take steroids to speed up the break-down and build up of muscles.  Unfortunately once a human stops using their muscles they break down into fat.  A polar bear takes the completely opposite strategy by eating large amounts of fat and slowing down muscle breakdown.  What person wouldn't want to be able to eat tons of fat, sleep as much as they want and wake up with less fat and more muscle?  That is the true dream diet!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Now for a Little Inspiration

So first blog post I talked about science which is a huge influence in my life, but I have another passion for spreading messages of self empowerment.   I can feel the groans coming, I'm not that type of inspirational speaker I promise you...  No chanting, no song and dance, just some blunt facts presented in a different view with me hoping they help. 

People often forget the power of choices.  There are always choices to be made; one is never forced to do anything.  While we are often presented with choices we don’t want to make or feel that the only option is one we would never take, the choice is open to not take that course.  It is an active choice to take life-changing situations and turn them into something positive.  It is a little like focusing on the silver lining at the edge of a dark cloud; there is plenty of darkness, but the lining might be a learning experience, or even a fresh start.  Many choices appear as downright terrifying.   Starting over in life gets feels increasingly difficult as one grows older.  But life never goes to plan, it is one of our gifts as humans to be able to adapt.  People often look at situations in a close-minded and uni-dimensional mode.  This is probably the result of many years of public education, where one is taught to stick to the facts.  Any kid who has unique and radical ideas is rapidly labeled as weird, and soon learns that the price of fitting in is to forget their silly dreams.  All too often we are limited by a preconceived view of what might be possible.  We choose to believe in experts, like doctors who say you will never walk again, or critics, who say your book will never become a best seller. 
What changed from those long-ago days when we were little kids and everyone wanted to be the president, an astronaut, an Olympian, or to cure cancer? Why is it that the process of growing up seems to be accompanied by the loss of a belief in one’s self and in huge dreams?  While it is true in sports that only one team can win (I am still holding out for a Super Bowl win Charger fans), nearly all of life is not reaching the top, but in obtaining satisfaction from working hard at dreaming big and becoming the best person you can be. Along the route, for every door that closes another opens, presenting new opportunities at every turn. Feeling satisfied that you have given it your all, beats that other feeling of disappointment in never having tried. So channel your inner 6-year-old, who believes that anything can happen and dream big, really big.
Plenty more where that came,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Testing, Testing, 123...

So this blog all came about because I've been processing a few ideas for awhile now, simply writing on them from time to time whenever inspiration strikes me.  I've helped my lovely boss develop her blog and even written once or twice on it, finally I decided hmm why not write my own.  My posts will be mainly about biomimicry, inspirational speaking, horses from time to time, and some randoms may pop up...  If I ever figure out how to scan my drawings, a comic or two may appear...  

Now already I have lost some of you on what the hell is biomimicry?  That is why I have listed a lovely cheater definition down below to help you out.  My dad is an uber-nerd like myself.  We talk for hours on animals and weird nature facts.  He is the current biomimicry expert in the country, and can dazzle you for days with his stunning slides.  I on the other hand, geek out and go on and on about animals and their weird abilities and how if I spliced some strange hybrid or isolate specific proteins, I could fix all our problems. 

To give you a slight insight on the odd places my mind goes, today I was thinking about shark cartilage, yes shark cartilage.  It is a popular additive in many supplements claiming to be an antioxidant.  The theory behind shark cartilage is trying to utilize a supposed theory that sharks do not get cancer.  How can sharks be utilized so people don't get cancer?  The downside to these additives is they are all via supplement that is ingested.  So, as it goes through your digestive system, mainly your stomach, the super high acid with completely destroy whatever happy protein or enzyme gave Mr. Shark all the benefits...  But back to sharks don't get cancer.  It isn't know exactly how they avoid getting cancer, I could drag on with some theories but I will spare you, the important point is they don't get cancer.  At the moment one of my good friends has brain cancer.  Wouldn't it be amazing to isolate the protein, enzyme, whatever mechanism the shark prevents cancer with and transform it for human use?  Just think no more chemo, or radiation, instead a completely natural treatment effective against all types of cancer.  Sharks are just one little piece of biomimicry and where it could take us as a society.

It seems today people don't care about conservation just for the sake of biodiversity, or keeping the world beautiful, which is exactly why they should become biomimicrists!  Nature did everything first and doesn't like to waste energy.  This has made most of its mechanisms extremely efficient.  Every business wants to save money or make money and efficiency is the best way to do it.  I will elaborate in future posts even more on why you should become a biomimicrist.  For now I will sign off and hopefully leave you wanting more and very intrigued... 
Ta ta for now,